Volvo C30

It's not always hip to be square-just ask Volvo. For years the Swedes have been trying to figure out how to shed their signature rectangular look in favor of one with sharper, sexier, younger lines. Well, the C30 is definitely thinking outside the box. In fact, it's the sleekest, most aggressive-looking Volvo yet. The sports-car character of this hot hatchback is underscored by a slanted snout, wide front air scoops, low-mounted driving lights, a smart-looking roof spoiler, bumper-mounted twin tailpipes, and a neat two-tone finish.

Yet it is still undeniably Volvo. This proto shares a platform with the 540 sedan, and even though it's shorter and a bit wider than the four-door, this coupe seats four rather comfortably. It packs a turbocharged 2.4 liter inline-5 engine-good for 260 horsepower and 268 lb.-ft. of torque-and a 6-speed manual transmission. Plus, of course, there are the signature safety features, including side and front airbags, whiplash protection, and an audible alert when you get too close to another car or object in the roadway, The trunk is a bit tight (leave the big bags at home unless you want to fold down the rear seats), but it's a small price to pay for this more shapely Swedish sled.

Aston Martin Rapide

Seriously sporty luxury sedans are popping up all over the automotive landscape these days. This new breed of four-door saloon delivers a never-before-seen combination of opulence and performance. At the start of this year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit, most considered the Mercedes-Benz CLS tops in the class, followed perhaps by the BMW M5. But that pecking order will change when this sleek DB9-derived machine hits the ground running.

The Rapide (pronounced RAH-peed) is Aston Martin's first four-door in more than 30 years. Built on the company's light and extremely stiff VH platform-just like the new v-s Vantage and, of course, the DB9 coupes-the elongated body has the same proportions, sinuous lines, and silhouette as its two-door siblings. And because 'ıt shares the DB9's fully independent suspension, the Rapide should feel just as well-balanced on the road-a responsive but not harsh ride that hugs the asphalt even in the tightest corners. According to sources, the concept's 480-horsepower, 6-liter V-12-mated to a ZF 6-speed Touchtronic gearbox-will make it into the final design.

That should propel this beauty from O to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds, topping out at about 186 mph. True to form, the English coach builder went all out with the interior. It's an exquisite mix of wood, polished aluminum, and plush leather. You'll also find a navigation system in the dash, a DVD entertainment setup with rear-facing LCD screens mounted in the front-seat headrests, and Bluetooth hands-free cell-phone integration. Judging by the hysteria it generated among the public and pros on the show circuit, this dream car will surely top every enthusiast's must have list. It's simply a matter of superior genetics.

$100 Gifts for Moms

Each of these stellar Mother's Day picks will set you back about $100-and make her feel like a million bucks


This whimsical set by British designer Polly George-the larger for lemons, the other for limes-is practical, too.

$98, MoMA Design Store, NYC.


Pair two crystal dishes designed by Lena Bergström for Orrefors to create a modern, asymmetric centerpiece.

$40 (7.5" diameter); $60 (10.4")


Fill up the 1 GB version for her-and use Apple's free laser engraving service to earn extra brownie points.



Made in the Netherlands, these water sippers with etched flower patterns are sure to brighten her day.

$98, Clio, NYC.


The stainless steel fruit holder by Emma Silvestris is striking-with or without anything in it.

$99, MOS My Own Space, La Jolla, CA.


Eliza Grey's design has a crystal-adorned heart on its enamel lid. It opens to reveal a double-sided mirror.

$95, Takashimaya, NYC.


Spoil her with luxury confectionery:

This assortment includes handmade chocolate-complete with gold flakes.

$100, Jin Patisserie, Venice, CA.


Pet care isn't her bag? Put so me water lilies in this handblown, fish-shaped vessel instead.

$98, Chiasso

"NY3759" WATCH

Unless she's a BASE jumper, skip the G-Shock and get this understated but sophisticated stainless steel looker.

$95, select DKNY stores


Add pics to this Barneys New York sterling silver, crocodile-patterned display (l 1/2" x 2 1/8") before you give it.

$98, select Barneys New York stores.